The Bhundoo/Clyde River is an underrated gem on the South Coast and a favourite local kayaking journey.
Beginning in the depths of the Budawang ranges, the river flows out into Batemans Bay and is known as one of the cleanest rivers in NSW.
The Walbunja people of the Yuin Nation were the first occupants of the area and their name for the river in the local Dhurga language is ‘Bhundoo’ which translates to English as ‘deep water’.
Choose Your Own Adventure
Paddling this river is a choose-your-own-adventure kind of place. You can travel in either direction and there are easy launch points from Nelligen, Batemans Bay and Shallow Crossing.
I’d recommend spending a couple of days paddling and camping your way along The Bhundoo/Clyde to get the full experience but you can easily tackle a short section if you’re just out exploring for the day.
The lower section of the river between Batemans Bay and Shallow Crossing is tidal which means it flows in different directions depending on what the tide is doing. If you time your journey right you can drift along with the tide, making for a really easy and accessible paddle!
Soak Up Spectacular Scenery
When you kayak the Clyde River / Bhundoo, you’ll move through some really interesting and different landscapes.
Closer to Batemans Bay and Nelligen, the tourism and oyster farming industry on the river is thriving. You’ll paddle past fishing boats, houseboats, BBQ pontoons and a big green and white ferry that goes up and back to Nelligen. Oyster farmers zip back and forth to their leases, tending to batches of delicious fat Sydney Rock oysters and are often quick to offer a friendly wave!
As you head up the river past Nelligen, you’ll feel more and more like you’re escaping humanity and retreating into nature. The river traffic gets quieter and the birds and the wind through the trees gets louder.
The Bhundoo is known as one of the cleanest and most pristine rivers in NSW. The banks are lined with stunning eucalyptus forests and thick mangroves that play host to all kinds of birds, fish and crabs.
I’d recommend paddling closer to the shoreline so you can spot lyrebirds and kingfishers frolicking on the water’s edge. You’ll often encounter seals upriver as they cruise up with the tide in search of fish. And don’t forget to look up to spot White-Bellied Sea Eagles gliding up and down the river.
If you’re paddling with the tide, you’ll have plenty of time to stop for lunch on the banks and plunge into the cool water for a refreshing swim!
Often the river turns glassy and flat providing incredible mirrored reflections in the water. I love just drifting along, breathing in the clean, fresh air and tuning into the tiny bubbly water sounds of my kayak gliding through the river.
Sleeping under the stars
Camping by the river is a magical way to spend the night. There are plenty of national park camps along the lower section of the river and a few hip camps on the upper section where you can pull straight in with your kayak.
On our Region X journeys, we stay on a great little private property with plenty of grassy campsites, a nice big firepit and the ultimate waterfront view. It’s quiet, calm and a brilliant spot for a morning wake-up swim!
The great thing about kayak camping is there’s HEAPS of room to bring not just the essentials but a few creature comforts! The kayak does all the heavy lifting for you so you won’t think twice about packing things like bags of marshmallows, extra comfy bedding, plenty of coffee or even a camp chair. All that extra kayak space makes for a really comfortable and enjoyable camping experience.
The main rules for packing your kayak are: put everything you don’t want to get wet inside a dry bag, put the heaviest things closest to the middle of your boat, and evenly distribute weight between the front and back. Apart from that, pack whatever and however you please!
If you don’t have camp gear, you can hire from us or join a guided 2 or 3-day journey with all gear and delicious food included.
Adventure for everyone
Paddling the Bhundoo/Clyde is the perfect escape to nature for all skill levels. The paddling is easy, flat and safe, and there’s plenty of down time for riverside lunches, floating peacefully beneath the trees, and making a campfire at the end of the day.
This kind of journey has a lower impact on your body than a hiking journey where you carry everything on your back so it’s great for everyone including beginners and kids!
If you’re looking for an escape to help you wind down and tune into nature, this is the ideal journey to take on.
Don’t want to kayak the Clyde River / Bhundoo alone? Come along with us!
Region X runs 2 and 3-day guided journeys along the river all year round. We provide all camping gear and food plus a skilled and knowledgable guide to make your experience extra special. We love it and we know you will too!